Five Basics for Disaster Preparation and Business Continuity in the Data Center

These days, it seems that unexpected business interruptions are coming all too frequently.  In this light, business continuity and disaster planning must be the foundation for any successful business.

Disaster, in its many forms, can strike suddenly. Events like fire, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, severe and lengthy power outages, or a host of other unexpected events may occur. You may no longer be able to access the vital records and data that your business relies on for day-to-day operations.

Disaster recovery preparation is the key to a failure-proof business continuity plan. And, a competent professional third-party IT maintenance company can ensure that your data and systems are securely preserved and available when the unexpected occurs.

What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?

A disaster is an event that can put your company at serious risk, interrupting normal, seamless operations. As a subset of your overall business continuity plan, Disaster Recovery Planning involves establishing contingency or backup strategies in case of a shutdown resulting from an unanticipated event. Being able to adapt quickly is key to remaining operational.

With data center activities, creating offsite or remote backup data storage and recovery capabilities can keep your business running even in the most challenging conditions.

Vital Elements of an Effective Disaster Recovery Plan

Disasters can have long-term effects. Understanding that some customers may be lost to competitors either temporarily or permanently as you try to recover should be a significant motivation for effective disaster planning.

As many business managers are aware,  the occurrence of a natural and other business-disrupting event occurring is usually not a question of “if,” but “when.” Naturally, as you struggle to recover, your better-prepared or undamaged competitors may quickly move in to replace you.

Whether your business is manufacturing, retail, or services, your data center is the heart of everything you do. Here are five essentials for effective Disaster Recovery Planning relative to your Data Center:

  1. Create a Disaster Team

Gather each department head or stakeholder in your organization. Because your IT systems and data are essential to continuity in the face of disaster, make sure you involve your most knowledgeable Data Center representatives. You may find it is necessary to bring in outside expertise, people who have dealt with disaster recovery situations in the past.

  1. Develop Possible Disaster Recovery Scenarios: Risk Management

Ask each department head to imagine what could happen if a variety of disasters should occur. What if the entire site is compromised or destroyed? What will you do if your primary onsite IT system is destroyed? How can clients be served?  How much time will be needed to bring the business back to full recovery? Will communications be lost?

  1. Develop a Disaster Recovery Plan with a 3rd Party IT Maintenance Company

Your IT Data Center should be your main priority. Your IT Disaster Recovery Team must present a contingency plan that addresses all possible outcomes to provide a seamless transition. In most instances, engaging an outside third-party maintenance company will help to secure your data and allow instant retrieval.

  1. Working with a Reputable Third-Party IT Maintenance Company for Disaster Recovery

One of the functions of a reliable third-party IT maintenance company is to provide redundant, remote backup storage for your Data Center. If a disaster occurs at your primary site, professionals can help you restore data securely without interruption.  The company will ensure data transfer is automatic and safe and should be able to replace damaged hardware quickly.

  1. Simulations

With the support of your third-party IT Maintenance Company and your internal Disaster Team, you can simulate a range of potential business disruptions. By following the protocols created in the Plan, your Data Center will be able to recreate all data quickly and without any interruption to service.

And, companies like thomastech, an international third-party IT maintenance company, can resupply necessary hardware components to bring all activity back to normal.

Contact thomastech for Data Center Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning

To assist with your IT disaster recovery planning, data backup, and implementation, contact thomastech. The company provides backup engineering and an inventory of spare parts to clients throughout North America and Europe.

Also, thomastech offers a portfolio of solutions to help companies with data backup and recovery.

For more information about thomastech’s capabilities, visit their website at https://thomastechllc.com/products-services/.

What is Third-Party Maintenance in the Data Center?

Quality third-party maintenance (TPM) providers are outsourced hardware and systems support companies that will professionally manage a client’s server, data storage, and network equipment. In most instances, a TPM takes the role of a replacement for the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), whose principal objective is to sell their latest equipment, often recommending shorter replacement cycles than are necessary.

Computer and other electronic hardware do become obsolete eventually. But, as your business grows, a qualified third-party maintenance company can help you forestall that next stage investment while maintaining top-level performance.

A competent third-party maintenance provider strives to extend the useful life of your systems and prevent investing hard-earned assets prematurely. With focused technical support, the TPM company will optimize your IT budget while ensuring your data is safe, hardware breakdowns are minimal, and your data center produces everything you require to make timely business decisions.

A Comparison Between Qualified Third-Party Maintenance Providers and OEM Companies

OEMs like Dell, HP, IBM, EMC, and others generally offer up to a three-year warranty. At the end of the warranty, you will be offered an option to purchase an extended service level agreement (SLA).

However, after around 6-9 years, when the rising cost of the OEM’s continuing service has reached its peak, you will be offered an End-of-Service-Life Notice that says that they can no longer provide support. The sales representative for the OEM  will then advise that you need to invest in the newest version of their hardware.

Remember, the letter “M” in OEM stands for “manufacturer.” Selling new equipment is the OEM’s primary objective.

Third-Party Maintenance Providers have a different objective. The “M” in their name represents “maintenance.” Their primary function is to be available to provide top quality personalized service when your OEM’s warranty has expired. Their involvement allows your systems to continue performing flawlessly at a lower cost.

And, with professionally certified support, your equipment will last longer, and your company’s capital can be applied to more productive, customer-focused activities.

Third-party maintenance providers like thomastech, a global systems support company, employ professional technicians who are OEM-certified to maintain equipment for all of the leading equipment brands. And, the company carries an extensive inventory of spare parts from leading brands.

What are the Advantages of Working with a Quality Third-Party Maintenance Company?

Data centers who partner with the top third-party maintenance providers like thomastech realize certain tangible advantages. These include:

  • Reducing your long-term IT expenditures
  • Extending your equipment life cycle without jeopardizing performance
  • Personalizing service in a “partnering relationship”
  • Providing quicker response times
  • Maintaining readily available spare parts
  • Establishing state-of-the-art security
  • Assisting with IT Asset Disposition and resale, when needed

How Do You Determine if a Quality Third-Party Maintenance Company is Warranted?

The first step in determining if your data center would benefit from working with a third-party maintenance company is the perform an internal assessment. The assessment should involve the following elements:

  • What percentage of your entire network is under an extended service warranty with the OEM?
  • How much equipment is out of warranty and are being serviced by the OEM under a service level agreement? What is your cost per year for the OEM service?
  • Review the records of downtime for each piece of equipment.
  • How much of your equipment is nearing or has reached the OEM’s End-of-Life status that indicates your OEM service support will end?

Having quantified the answers to these questions, contact a proven third-party maintenance company to discuss your situation and who can offer a program to reduce your long-term hardware and maintenance costs. Look for a candidate with top-notch reviews and references from similar clients, appropriate industry certifications, extensive inventories, and available resources to support your business.

Learn More About thomastech, a Leader in Third-Party Maintenance

thomastach is a third-party maintenance leader in managing enterprise hardware servers and data storage with certified, professional IT support. Their company professionals provide scalable support that will expand as your needs grow.

Visit the thomastech website to learn more about how the company will enhance your entire team and efforts while providing expert and economical support.

How to Prepare to Change ITAD Vendors

Companies grow. Information needs expand, hardware becomes obsolete or less productive, and the renewal cycle for new electronics and computer equipment gets shorter. As new IT equipment comes onboard, management is continually challenged with finding ways to retire old hardware best safely and economically.

Managing IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) is becoming a critical worldwide industry. In 2018, for example, ITAD vendors oversaw the safe disposal or remarketing of 500 million metric tons of used IT equipment, according to a United Nations report.

The reasons for creating a plan for change may be that you:

  • Believe your current ITAD vendor service is inferior or has become unresponsive.
  • Learn that your current ITAD vendor is ceasing operations.
  • Wish to be ready if you need to make a change in the future.

Here are some guidelines for managing the process of changing ITAD vendors.

Having a Transition Plan is Critical

If you are planning to change ITAD vendors, certain steps will facilitate the process to ensure your records are secure, the change is seamless, and minimize confusion, and help you get a fair return on your IT assets.

Closing Out Current ITAD Vendors

  • Keep an accurate record of all your company’s IT assets. The information should include all computers, mobile phones, and accessories, as well as drives and other equipment that contain your company’s data. Know the who, where, what, and when of every component.
  • Record all recent Data Destruction and Asset Disposition details with your current ITAD vendors.
  • Communicate with all essential stakeholders within your organization to assure them that assets and information will be safer following the changeover of ITAD vendors.
  • Review any existing contracts for any early termination issues that must be addressed.

Preparation for Choosing New ITAD Vendors

As you begin to look for a new ITAD vendor, you should carefully organize your pending ITAD needs. The new vendor will need to know:

  • How many assets will need to be managed?
  • What types of equipment will be handled?
  • How many drives will need to be sanitized or destroyed onsite?
    Where are all the assets located?
  • When will the new ITAD vendor need to start?
  • What is your average asset volume?
  • Will the be any special needs or handling required?

Having this information in advance gives candidate ITAD vendors a clear picture of how to present their quotation.

Selecting New ITAD Vendors

When vetting new ITAD vendors, you must be sure you are not going from bad to worse. Do not jump for “specials” and price breaks unless they make sense. Also, be sure to check references and related outside industry resources to determine reliability, past performance, and reputation. During the interview, ask specific, in-depth questions to assess how the vendor has handled similar circumstances.

Vet the prospective ITAD vendors carefully. The first step is the make sure they have the proper certifications which may include Ban e-Stewards Certified Recycler, NAID (National Association of Information Destruction) Certification, or Microsoft Registered Refurbisher  

Most important, examine how the prospective ITAD vendor will handle the issues in which the current one is underperforming. It would be best if you considered creating a test case project to determine the company’s professional approach and timeliness. A multifaceted test case can determine any ITAD vendor’s organizational aptitude and identify weaknesses.

Finally, make sure you establish mutual expectations, eliminate performance gaps, and create mutually acceptable success measurements.

Transitioning New ITAD Vendors

Create a process document that outlines the objectives, projects, success measures, and description of the optimal outcome.

With large projects, particularly ones that span considerable territory, you should consider creating an internal team to oversee the effectiveness of the new company. Key personnel, notably IT experts, can take responsibility and champion the change.

Learn About thomastech, a Third-Party Maintenance Company

For complete support for all of your hardware, service, and technical expertise, check out thomastech, a global third-party maintenance company. Visit the thomastech website to learn more.

What is IT Asset Disposition?

All successful businesses, large or small, depend on IT to manage their enterprise. Computer-managed sales information, invoicing, accounting, internal operations, human resources and personnel support, data collection, real-time decision-supporting analysis, and more define the entire picture of an enterprise’s activity. As companies grow, data volume increases, and new computing and storage capacity will be needed. Older, outdated assets may need to be disposed of.

IT assets may consist of mainframes and individual desktops, portable computers, tablets, mobile phones, and more. According to one United Nations report, the world disposed of 50 million metric tons of electronics or “e-waste” in 2018. This quantity of asset disposition, says the UN, outweighs the total tonnage of all commercial airliners ever produced.

Sooner or later, older IT equipment becomes obsolete and must be replaced. ITAD, or Information Technology Asset Disposition, comes into play at this point.

So, where should the old equipment go? How must companies dispose of the old to make way for the new?

Finding an Effective IT Asset Disposition Provider

Out-dated or insufficient electronics should never be placed on the curb or put in a dumpster to be carried away with the next trash pickup.

In the first place, your equipment must be disposed  responsibly to eliminate risks from ecology-damaging components.

Also, proper asset disposition eliminates the risk of your organization’s information remaining with the equipment.

Lastly, older equipment may be resold to individuals or companies that can benefit from the equipment’s residual capability. AEven though your company may have outgrown the technology, another may find that it fits their needs perfectly.

The objective of a professional third-party global IT maintenance company like thomastech is to provide ongoing support, systems maintenance, storage, spare parts, and user training that will extend the lifetime of their clients’ IT systems. Their support spans the time between initial planning and acquisition to the eventual asset disposition.  

In the case of asset disposition, the objectives of a third-party IT provider are to:

  • maximize the equipment’s value
  • eliminate any security risk,
  • minimize the total equipment cost

Replacement cycles are shortening as technology continues to evolve. While IT demands of a decade ago were less than today, thomastech uses creative strategies and an extensive inventory of replacement and supplemental parts to extend equipment effectiveness. While IT equipment manufacturers often recommend premature replacement, your third-party IT company can help to extend the effective life of the original equipment before IT asset disposition  is needed.

What Should Happen with a Proper IT Asset Disposition?

A professional IT asset disposition company will:

  • Sterilize the System: Before final asset disposition occurs, the asset disposition company will sterilize all elements, removing all data according to industry guidelines to ensure none of your information remains with the equipment.
  • Determine Residual Value: As part of the asset disposition process, the company will determine how much value remains with each component and determine whether some or all the system may be resold.
  • Offer Asset Remarketing Options by finding a buyer for all or part of the system.
  • Responsible Asset Disposition: If components cannot be resold, the company will handle the asset distribution according to industry and international guidelines.

Thomastech, a Global leader in Third-Party Maintenance and Support

Rather than waste substantial assets on complete IT staffing, unnecessary equipment, data storage, and state-of-the-art systems security, outsource your IT maintenance needs to professionals. Thomastech’s overall strategy is to delay capital equipment capital equipment expenses while professionally maintaining existing assets and helping clients to gain control of their IT budgets.

When the time comes for IT asset disposition, thomastech will manage your disposal in the safest, most economical manner, but only when the equipment has reached the end of its useful life.To learn more about the company and services, visit the thomastech website. While there, you will learn more about thomastech’s People, Processes, Products, and Services that encompass the entire range of computer support and maintenance services.